Frank Bang review…May 21, 2013…

FRANK BANG AND THE SECRET STASH

DOUBLE DARE

BLUE HOSS 1001

DOUBLE DARE–BURNIN’ UP IN THE WIND–LOSE CONTROL–GOD FEARIN’ MAN–WONDER WOMAN–THIS IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT–ALL’S WELL–MY OWN COUNTRY WAY–18 WHEELS OF HELL–ALL I NEED–MATTIE’S GIRL

Guitarist Frank Bang is a native of Chicago, and spent five years as Buddy Guy’s backing guitar player, literally learning at the feet of the master.  He states that his fifth album is “driving music,” and, it is true that there are several put-the-top-down anthems herein, but there are also some  departures from this vein on the remainder of “Double Dare.”  Frank Blinkal got the nickname “Bang” from fellow bluesman Larry McCray (for the speed in which Frank gets a job done), and wanted to do some material that struck a deeper chord with his fans, many of whom had expressed how much his music had helped them cope during tough times.

 

That said, the leadoff title cut hits you like a punch in the gut, Frank’s slide sounding like an unleashed hellhound, reminding us that “no one’s promised tomorrow/life’s nothin’ but a Double Dare.”  “Burnin’ Up In The Wind” was inspired by a poem by Sterling Plump, and has a mean solo from Frank and harp from Russ Green.  “Lose Control” is another blistering blues-rocker, with jazzy organ from Daryl Coutts, and a tripped-out sax break from Greg Ward.   Searing slide in the vein of Aubrey Ghent and Robert Randolph permeates “God Fearin’ Man,” while “All’s Well” draws from vintage Southern rock with a John Hiatt twist.

His somber, more poignant side proved to be the album’s most intriguing entries.  An acoustic dobro intro segues’ into the powerful tale of his “Wonder Woman” and her unconditional love and ability to “bring out the best in me.”  Similar themes are touched on in the set-closing “Mattie’s Girl” and “That’s What It’s All About,” extolling the virtues of the simpler aspects of life.

 

All of which leads us to our favorites, unusually-diverse as they are.  “18 Wheels Of Hell” weaves a foreboding story of redemption over a chugging beat, about a troubled man chased and eventually caught by a truck with “Death behind the wheel and the Devil by his side.”  And, a corn-likker-fueled mythical meeting between Frank and ol’ Luke The Drifter himself finds both men bemoaning the soulless music coming from Music Row these days.  Luke reassures Frank that the blues will be country’s savior, as long as he keeps on singing “Country My Way.”

 

Frank Bang hits all the right notes with “Double Dare.”  It has equal parts slide-driven boogie blues, and deep, thought-provoking songs taken from his life’s experiences and writers he has admired.  Until next time—Sheryl and Don Crow.

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